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The Gaza Strip: Arabs don’t count

There’s a piece of mine in today’s Crikey, reiterating some of the stuff posted on this site. It begins like this:

Here’s a headline from Israel Today that you didn’t see in many local papers: ‘US, Australia back Gaza strike; rest of the world doesn’t.’

Yes, another Coalition of the Willing has been assembled and, yes, once again we’ve enrolled in its lonely ranks.

The Australian army won’t, of course, see action in Gaza but then the service John Howard provided for George Bush was always far more political than military. Australian support added a veneer of legitimacy to Bush’s illegal invasion – and, as the Israeli press notes, that’s the part Gillard’s playing now.

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Jeff Sparrow is the former editor of Overland. He is the co-author (with Jill Sparrow) of Radical Melbourne: A Secret History and Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, the editor (with Antony Loewenstein) of Left Turn: Essays for the New Left and the author of Communism: a love story, Killing: Misadventures in violence, and Money Shot: A Journey into Censorship and Porn.  On Twitter, he's @Jeff_Sparrow.

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  1. Yes Jeff of course the overthrow of the lawful Baathist Tyranny was illegal! All revolutions are illegal.

    The example of a man throwing his shoes at a press conference demonstrates that this change (in Iraq) is a radical change. For thousands of years no Babylonian or Egyption would have thrown their shoes at the ‘king’ or his guests. They may as well have thrown their feet for they would have had no more use for them minutes after the event. Even as little as seven years ago the man would have been insane to have done so and would have been taken out and shot immediately.

    Today security guards tackle him and arrest him and he will be brought before a court and charged and he will be judged by a separate branch of the government (the judiciary), and (given that the evidence of assault is quite clear and on film) receive a sentence for his actions in line with all the factors that are taken into consideration by the judge. This is almost a textbook definition of living in a bourgeois democracy.

    The revolutionary transformation from tyranny to bourgeois democracy (dreamt of for many years) has occurred. If it had not succeeded and had instead a figure like Moqtada al Sadr come to power, then any similar shoe throwing event would have concluded with his supporters beating the individual to death in the grand old manner.

    Now rather than focus on that revolutionary transformation, and celebrating the launch of the bourgeois democratic revolution that the event heralds, people are focused on guards being too rough arresting the man and rumours that he is being ill treated under arrest. He shouldn’t be badly treated, period. But if he is, it would harm the interests of both the Iraqi government and the US government, so we ought to be at least confident that such wrong-doing will be ended swiftly and that he be treated as a normal assailant.

    On Gaza, sure the Israelis started this like prison guards discovering the ’supply route’ tunnel, but the real question to answer is why did they start it, or what do they hope to gain from what is possible to gain?

    Look to the northern border of Israel, the Israeli government and altenate government want to gain what is on their northern border where no tunnels exist into Lebanon and trucks freely carry arms and supplies without any interference whatsoever. When the Israelis pull out, as they will to the south in Palestine then the same will develop and just as ships and planes carry consumables (and weapons)into Israel, so too will the Palestinian state be supplied, as there will be no sitting at the back of the bus for the Palestinian people either.

  2. I don’t really understand the argument about Palestine. You are suggesting that the attack on Gaza is part of an Israeli plan to free the Palestinians — is that it? Can’t quite see it myself.
    As for Iraq, well, where to begin? The war cost something like a million lives, and displaced Iraq refugees all over the world. The Iraqi ‘justice’ system involves a network of secret prisons in which all kinds of hideous abuses have been taking place and a pretty well-documented reliance on death squads. The main reason the shoe thrower is still alive is that he was captured on camera and his supporters have waged a campaign to prevent him being tortured further.
    I think the Iraqi people can take too much more of that liberation.

  3. I know you don’t understand it because you are not familiar with the draining the swamp theory, and the consequences for the Zionist war for greater Israel. You ought to stop and think. How goes the war for greater Israel?

    The alternate Zionist leaderships do not believe that they could get away with an ethnic cleansing of the occupied territories so winning a failed war that’s now heading towards 42 years long and that is harming the interests of the sponsor the USA is not possible. The USA, Obama or not, has had enough and are unable to fund this failure any longer anyhow.

    The war for greater Israel really is lost!! Get that thought firmly in your mind. Even if it drags on for a couple of years that loss will be finalized.

    The Palestinian people will live in their own State that will not be dictated to anymore that Lebanon, Syria, Egypt or Jordan. There is going to be no back of the bus for Palestinians to get sent to. Two years after the Lebanon end phase and 36 years after Nixon bombed the north for Christmas and signed the Paris accords 1 month later haven’t we seen the original movie and ought not we be able to recognize a shoddy remake?

    Of course the aggressors do the aggressing in an aggressive war for greater Israel. DUH! But they have lost this war and it has to be brought to a close just like Nixon brought the Vietnam war to a close. They are doing this in an orgy of bloodshed, but they are doing this. The Palestinian people are struggling their way to equality in the era when ‘Countries want independence Nations want liberation and the people want revolution.’

    The Zionists want monitors because they are now prepared to stop the war and thus are prepared to keep the peace.

    But you can’t see anything except doom and gloom! And are probably still proud of your failure to stand with the Iraqi peoples as they fight Al Qaeda / Jihadis, Baathism and Shia death squads and establish their own bourgeois democracy in a region that had never know it. What will you say when Iraq holds another free and fair election at the end of 2009? What have you to say to the masses of Iraqis that now have political parties to belong to and to vote for? ‘Sorry but you should be fighting well armed Baathism by yourselves’. It’s the same idiocy that failed to recognize that the US played any useful role in WW2.

  4. Sorry Patrick but I don’t find any of that remotely convincing. You don’t present any evidence for your thesis on Palestine and I’m not really sure what follows from your argument, anyway. If all you are arguing is that the Gaza operation reflects certain weaknesses within Israel, then that’s fair enough, I suppose. Many people have noted the instability within Israeli politics, as well as the demographic changes that make the previous preferred option of a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian Bantustan untenable.
    But you seem to be suggesting that there’s something progressive in the Gaza attack, that the Zionists are now ‘prepared to keep the peace’. I don’t see any evidence for that at all.
    As for Iraq, we just don’t speak the same language. You look at the current situation and see the vision that the neo-cons once offered. That was never credible in 2003, and it’s even less so now, after a million (yes, a million!) people have died. If the Iraqi people asked me anything (which I don’t suppose they will), I’d like to be able to offer them something better than either Saddam Hussein and the fractured, near failed-state they have today. One suspects that they’re a little bit tired of being used as pawns in other people’s great games.

  5. Jeff there is nothing progressive about this murderous assault!! Neither was there anything progressive in Nixon bombing North Vietnam 1 month before signing the paris peace accords.

    The fact is for forty years the zionists have opposed monitors now they are calling for them. Why the change?

    You obviously know nothing about Iraq, but what will you be saying come the next elections later this year when millions shove their purple finger up to your face again? Call their elected representatives pupetts and quislings? Pretend that the US preventing elections in Vietnam is the same policy in Iraq? You wouldn’t even stand up to the Baathists when they invaded Kuwait and want to be taken seriously as some form of leftist. What sort of left is not involved in a fight against Baathism? Try a bit of research on the term pseudoleft.

    The Iraqi people are asking you something right now and that is to respect their elected representatives and their government and to assist them with their struggle against the enemies of all progressive humanity. Have a look at Strange Times and the old Lastsuperpower archive if you want to work out why the anti war movement got it so terribly wrong and thought that pupetts would be installed to nick oil. Also your 1 million casualties though wrong would have certainly been matched by any alternate liberation that was realistic against the massive Baathist forces. So claim your share of any deathtoll because you have no moral high ground!

    But anyway that war is now won the question that I am raising is about Gaza and what are the Zionists up to? What do you say they are up to?

  6. If you seriously think that the only way to topple a repressive regime involves a total war fought by a major power, resulting in a million deaths, well, there goes the whole Left project. Was Baathist rule really that much more brutal or powerful than, say, Apartheid in South Africa? The Shah in Iran? Somoza in Nicaragua?
    To ask the question is to answer it.
    It’s equally ridiculous to see the US in Iraq as fighting Baathism. The whole strategy has been copied from counterinsurgency experiences in Latin America, one aspect of which involves a willingness to back any pliant group of thugs capable to keeping a lid on things. After all, the much hailed ‘surge’ strategy involved buying off former Sunni insurgents, some of whom had a Baathist background. Yes, puppets have been installed — everyone can see that.
    But as you suggest, we’re reaching the point of diminishing returns with this argument.
    As for Gaza, it seems to me it’s partly about internal Israeli politics (that is boosting the fortunes of the current administration) and more generally it’s about trying to reassert Israel’s strategic dominance after the failure of the war in Lebanon.

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